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Barksdale B-52s participates in CENTCOM exercise Eager Lion

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. (AFNS) -- Two B-52 Stratofortress bombers assigned to the 2nd Bomb Wing in Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, returned May 18, from a 30-plus hour, 14,000 mile nonstop mission to the U.S. Central Command area of operations, where they participated alongside Jordanian and other multinational forces in exercise Eager Lion 2015.

Exercise Eager Lion is one of CENTCOM’s premiere exercises, and consists of a series of simulated scenarios to facilitate a coordinated, partnered military response to both conventional and unconventional threats. While U.S. participation in Eager Lion occurs on a regular basis, this year marks the first time the multi-role, heavy bomber has been integrated into the exercise. In total, about 10,000 U.S. and international military personnel participated in Eager Lion, which took place May 5-19 in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

During the exercise, B-52 crews joined up with the Jordanian air force F-16 Fighting Falcons over Jordan, conducting a low flyover and a conventional weapons demonstration. Additionally, while in flight, bomber crews coordinated with Jordanian joint terminal attack controllers on the ground to increase cooperation and understanding regarding tactics, techniques and procedures for future interoperability.

Combined with the long-range nature of the flight, which involved four aerial refueling operations, this mission showcases the flexible capabilities of the bomber force and its ability to integrate and strengthen interoperability with allies and partners around the globe.

"Partnering with other geographic combatant commands and participating in combined training engagements with our allies and partners demonstrates our shared commitment to promoting peace and stability," said Adm. Cecil D. Haney, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command. "The B-52 flights in support of exercise Eager Lion were specifically designed to ensure maximum opportunities to synchronize and integrate STRATCOM bomber capabilities with regional partners, fostering cooperation and increasing interoperability among exercise partners as we work toward mutual goals.”

STRATCOM’s bomber force regularly conducts combined training and theater security cooperation engagements with allies and partners, and B-52 participation in Eager Lion follows several global missions during the last year that enhanced interoperability. For example, these flights follow two simultaneous, round-trip flights of B-52s to the Arctic and North Sea regions in early April. This mission, called “Polar Growl,” enabled bomber crews to conduct air intercept training with fighter aircraft from the United Kingdom, Canada and the Netherlands. Previously, B-52s participated in NATO exercise Noble Justification in October 2014, where the bombers assisted in the exercise’s focus of validating the Spanish Maritime Force as the 2015 Maritime NATO Response Force.

STRATCOM is one of nine Defense Department unified combatant commands and is charged with strategic deterrence; space operations; cyberspace operations; joint electronic warfare; global strike; missile defense; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; combating weapons of mass destruction and analysis and targeting.

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